Tuesday 28 May 2013

Armchair BEA- Classics

So, for Classics day at Armchair BEA, I'm going to ramble a bit about  why we read them. No matter the reasons, we love books that have been around for ages. And there's some great books that are waiting to become classics in many years (John Green. I'm looking at you). And some people dislike them And some people are unwilling to try them because they're old. But somehow, we get into them. And here are some reasons why.

Most of us get our classics fed to us from school. I got given Lord of the Flies by William Golding, after I read it and already decided I disliked it.  The other classes got given To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, after I read it and decided I liked it. In Latin, we got given parts of the Aeneid and something from the only Latin novelly thing involving witches, adultery and murder. Both these extracts get me interested  a bit more in the wider source material. I know some people love the books they study for school, others hate them. School is not the best way of choosing your classics.

Making it into mainstream, for a month or so, often has an effect on how many people read them. Anna Karenina, Les Miserables, The Great Gatsby, Great Expectations have all been given relatively recent film or 'TV redos. Their appearance in more accessible formats than bricks with old language gets people interested in the plot, and then they decide maybe having a go at reading it won't be so bad after all.

Retelling, modernising or resetting basic plotlines  makes it easier to get intrigued, and are often done beautifully. Two of my favourite retellings are Falling for Hamlet and The Song of Achilles. There's also a variety of fanfics on the internet and you cannot forget The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. I'm not sure where I was going with this paragraph. Just that you can get into classics via someone else telling it to you.

The way that I get into classics most, other than recommendations, is genre. When I first got into the goth scene, I hunted out as much gothic literature as I could. I read Dracula, Frankenstein, The Strange Case of Jekyll and Hyde and a collection of Edgar Allan Poe over summer of year 7. I have since read Carmilla and The Picture of Dorian Gray and Interview with the Vampire, Psycho  a few other big things in the gothic/horror genre. Also, I really like classical (greek/roman) stuff, and I read the Odyssey a few years back and I have some more classical stuff on my TBR.   I think you can do this with other genres too. Romance (Pride and Prejudice), sci-fi (Philip K Dick, I am Legend), adventure (Robert Louis Stevenson and some other things) and some more. I think this is the best way to get into classics because it means you know you're getting something you're vaguely interested in, and you also get to see where some of the stereotypes and cliches in modern books come from.

I am bad at conclusions. But yeah. This has been four ways we get into classics. Why do you guys read them?


  1. I need to read more classics myself! I was homeschooled as a child, so there weren't really any books forced on me. Instead, I wandered into my fathers book corner and just started reading things that looked interesting. According to my mom, I read Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland when I was six!

    So it's kind of disappointing that little child me read more classics than I do now -_- Sigh. I have a beautiful edition of Jane Eyre I need to read! Maybe after game of thrones xD

  2. I went through an Edgar Allan Poe phase in high school...and a little bit into college.

    But my all time favorites were written by Daphne Du Maurier...Rebecca, etc.


  3. Snap about To Kill A Mockingbird and Lord of the Flies! Some interesting thoughts and I like the idea of accessing them through genres. For me, I think uni rather than school helped a bit with 'classic lit' (I still generally prefer contemp classics though).

    I also think Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet's a winner.

    Little M and I are exploring what 'classics' means to us through The Classics Club where you aim to read and blog about 50 classics in 5 years.

  4. Haha you're spot on about John Green! And I think so too, about the school fed classics.

    Fahima @ I Read, Ergo I Write

  5. I received The Song of Achilles as a gift last month but haven't had time to read it, yet. I'm determined to get to it this summer!


Thanks for taking time to read this!
Comments are much loved.
Nina xxx

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